Challenge your students to think about a diverse range of topics by using these expository writing prompts on civics and public policy. From land use to social responsibility, these prompts are should engage your students minds and beliefs.
Prompt 1: Student Body Elections are coming up and it’s time to elect a class president. The responsibilities of the class president are to help plan parties and prom, fundraise for the senior class trip, and more. Write an article for the school newspaper describing what kind of person would make a good class president and why.
Prompt 2: If the draft is ever reinstated, should girls be drafted as well as boys? Why or why not?
Prompt 3: In court, you are asked to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Write about a time when you did one (told the truth, for example) but not the other (the whole truth).
Prompt 4: Students in your school are unhappy with the student bathrooms. Write a letter to your principal describing the problem and suggesting ways to solve it.
Prompt 5: Several politicians and key businessmen have stated that global warming is a myth. Write a detailed essay explaining whether or not you agree with their position. Site as many specific examples as you can.
Prompt 6: Think about a problem in your community that affects you and your friends. Prepare a brief written report in which you state the problem, and offer a solution to it. In your report, make clear to your neighbors why they should also get involved in helping to fix the problem.
Prompt 7: Gasoline and diesel powered engines are a necessary part of modern life, but they have an effect on the environment. Write an essay that discusses the environmental impact of the use of gas and diesel engines versus what these devices provide for society.
Prompt 8: The mayor has to make a big decision–should some land in your community be used for a new shopping mall or for a park? Write a letter to the mayor telling him what you think.
Prompt 9: You are on a children’s health care committee. Write a letter to your principal or mayor suggesting a recommended change your school or town can make which will improve the health of its children.
Prompt 10: Many schools in the United States require students to participate in service projects in order to graduate. Do you think community service should be mandatory for students? Write an editorial for your school newspaper.
Prompt 11: A tract of land is being sold in your community. Fictitious bidders include the National Park Service, a children’s hospital, a shopping-mall developer, an oil drilling company, and the U.S. Armed Forces. Choose one and become a lobbyist for one that group writing arguments on behalf of their interests.
Prompt 12: There has recently been much discussion about violence in the music, film, and television that children enjoy. Some experts argue that the media is one major reason crime rates are on the rise. They suggest that the violence the youths hear and see through TV, film, and music can influence them to behave in violent ways. On the other side of the issue, some experts feel that kids aren’t influenced by violent images and words; therefore filmmakers and musicians should be left free to create their art. Write an editorial for your local newspaper in which you tell what you think about the issue.
Prompt 13: Should the drinking age be lowered to eighteen? Why or why not?
Prompt 14: In several counties, citizens are expected to serve in the national military. Even in America we have only recently abandoned the draft and the ordinance of mandatory military service. Do you believe we should institute similar mandatory military service requirements for our citizenry? Why or why not?
Prompt 15: Do you think law enforcement agencies and government officials spend too much time and energy focusing on marijuana instead of other drugs (heroin, cocaine, meth, etc…)
Prompt 16: Medical marijuana has been legalized in California for some time now. Do you feel it’s okay for the state to regulate and distribute marijuana like any other prescription drug, or do you feel that this should be a decided on a federal level? Explain your answer.
Prompt 17: Do you believe the current movie rating system is a fair depiction of the content in today’s movies? Why or why not?
Prompt 18: More and more people are pushing for the legalization of marijuana. Write a letter to our congressman explaining why you believe marijuana should or should not be legalized.
Prompt 19: The country is divided on the national healthcare plan that was voted in recently. Are you for or against a national health care plan? If you are for it, how should the government pay for it? If you are against it, what should happen to people who can’t afford health care or who work at jobs which don’t provide any health care?
Prompt 20: Should gay marriage become legal? Pick a side and write an essay explaining why you feel the way you do.
Prompt 21: A study shows that many high school students don’t get enough sleep. Would you like to see a policy implemented where high school would start an hour later, so teens could get the sleep they need? Why or why not?
Prompt 22: Some school districts around the country have year round school. Instead of a long summer break, the students go to school for seven or eight week sessions, then get a two week break about five times a year. Do you think you would learn more with a system like this? Would you like this system? Why or why not?
Prompt 23: Many schools have implemented a pay-for-play system for some sports due to budget cuts. Do you think it’s fair to ask students to pay for each sport they want to participate in? What should schools do instead if there is not enough money in the budget to keep the sports going?